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Synopsis "The Savage Time Part Three"
Previously in Justice League “The Savage Time” Part One and Part Two: An evil genius called Vandal Savage has used a time machine to send blue prints and historical cheats to an earlier version of himself. The younger version of Savage used the material to usurp the position of Axis Führer and to alter the outcome of World War Two. The Justice League, who were protected from the changes to history, have travelled into the past to undo Savage’s tampering. The heroes became separated after their arrival. Superman, the Flash, and Hawkgirl are assisting the elite Blackhawk Squadron, J’onn J’onzz has infiltrated the Axis headquarters, and a powerless Green Lantern was joined Srg Rock’s Easy Company. Wonder Woman, with US secret agent Steve Trevor, has acquired a Coded Communicator which will allow the Allies to eaves drop on Savage’s plans, but they have been caught in a trap while trying to break a code breaker called Ernst out of an Axis prison.
War Wheels surround Ernst’s prison tower. Wonder Woman covers Ernst and Steve with a mattress from the cell’s cot and deflects falling masonry off of them as the War Wheel’s pound and grind the tower into rubble. Axis soldiers comb over the rubble and find what they’re meant to find – the face-plate of the Communicator which Wonder Woman had left visible as “evidence” that the Communicator has been destroyed. In Berlin, Vandal Savage is pleased to hear of the Communicator’s destruction and orders “Operation Endgame” to commence. Wonder Woman digs herself, Ernst, and Steve out of the rubble after the Axis soldiers have left. Ernst then sets about decrypting the Communicator.
Superman, Hawkgirl, and the Flash, approach a massive factory site that had been discovered by the Blackhawks. The Leaguers fly on ahead of the Blackhawks to attack the factory’s anti-aircraft guns. The defending soldiers try to secure the compound, but they are little match for the League’s superpowers. The Flash sounds the evacuation alarm, giving the work force time to escape before the Blackhawks start their bombing run. The Leaguers discover that the destroyed factory had been making advanced jet engines based on technology from the future. J’onn suddenly arrives from Berlin and informs them that he knows what Savage is planning.
Elsewhere, Easy Company’s search for the enemy airfield has been frustrated. They have searched the entire area identified on their intelligence maps, but have found nothing. Lantern’s suspicions about a hill that isn’t on their map is confirmed when Bulldozer – while he’s procrastinating about Lantern’s usefulness – falls into it. Inside the “hill” Easy Company find a runway where legions of Axis paratroopers and War Wheels are lined up to board a squadron of gigantic mono-wings Transports. This is Vandal Savage’s invasion force for “Operation Endgame.”
After cracking the Code Communicator, Ernst tells Steve and Wonder Woman that the invasion is already beginning and that Savage is bypassing Britain to invade America directly (that’s why he needed the jet engines and massive Transports). Ernst tries to signal the Allies, but Wonder Woman says she must try catch up with the invasion force. Steve asks her if they’ll ever see each other again and this time it is she who kisses him. She then leaps into the sky.
Easy Company are still debating what to do when they see Vandal Savage arrive to personally led the invasion. They open fire, but can’t stop him boarding the lead Transport. Green Lantern throws his gun aside and grabs a motorbike as Savage’s Transport taxis down the runway. Easy Company covers him and manages to destroy the rear Transport. Lantern catches up with Savage’s Transport and jumps from his motorcycle on to its landing gear just as it takes off. Meanwhile, Blackhawk informs the rest of the League that they have received a faint broadcast from Ernst about the invasion. The Flash heads west at superspeed to warn the US authorities while Superman, J’onn J’onzz and Hawkgirl join the pursuit of Savage’s invasion force.
Aboard Savage’s Transport, Green Lantern begins breaking anything he can find and starts a fuel leak that causes the Transport to slow and loose altitude. The other Transports assume Savage is slowly deliberately and maintain formation. Lantern is eventually captured by Axis soldiers and brought before Savage. He is saved from Savage’s torture when the Transports come under attack by his Justice League team-mates. The League, now with Wonder Woman, come under attack from gun turrets mounted in the wings which they disable one after another. Two of the Transports are on fire as the League regroups. Wonder Woman rips the wing flap from one sending it spiralling into a dive while Hawkgirl’s attack on another’s rudder has a similar effect.
Savage’s men eventually repair the wiring in his Transport and he signals for the remaining fleet to engage their afterburners. That, however, brings them into the firing line of the US Atlantic Fleet that has been forewarned of their approach by the Flash. Two more Transports are brought down leaving Savage’s own and two others. While Savage is distracted Lantern over comes his guards and grabs a gun. Savage tells him “You think that you can kill me? You’re welcome to try!” Lantern ignores him and fires at the Transport’s instruments causing it to tumble into an uncontrollable dive. J’onn telepathically senses Lantern is on-board the Transport and warns Hawkgirl. She dives after the plunging aircraft and pulls Lantern from the cockpit moments before it hits the ocean and explodes. With Savage’s Transport destroyed the last two Transports turn around and are met by the waiting Blackhawks. Back in Berlin, General Hoffman dismisses Savage’s failure and announces that they will continue the war by bringing their original Führer out of cold storage.
The Justice League return to the present day through Vandal Savage’s time tunnel and find the original Batman waiting for them. He has no knowledge of the altered timeline and is understandably perplexed when Superman hugs him. The rest of the League crowd around the Batman to tell him about their adventure, but Wonder Woman is disappointed to have left Steve Trevor in the past. Fortunately, Steve survived the rest of the War and Wonder Woman finds him, now an old man, living in a retirement home. He still remembers her as his “angel.”
Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor at the Retirement Home. Sentimental? Yes, but a lovely scene to end with.
I’d like Mythbusters to try this one: Can you survive the demolition of a castle tower with nothing but a mattress and an Amazon princess for protection.
Taken as a whole, “The Savage Time” is certainly stronger as a movie than “Secret Origins” and you’ve got to commend the writers and producers for tackling a World War II story in an all-ages cartoon. The Blackhawk’s return, after a fashion, in a Justice League Unlimited episode, but I’d really have liked to have seen a full episode with Sgt Rock. It felt like we only just scratched the surface with his appearance here. He’d certainly be a good choice for one of those Showcase shorts that they are now adding to DC direct-to-DVD animated features. The character arc for Hawkgirl and Green Lantern gets inched forward in a nice way.
This episode has to serve as both a standalone episode and as the last act of a movie and those functions are not entirely compatible. That’s not to say its a bad episode, it just doesn’t work best when viewed in isolation. The second-half to last two-thirds of the episode enters into what I’d like to describe as the “Duck Hunt” – that part where the villain places his Legion (the ducks) into a vulnerable position so that the heroes can look good whilst slowly whittling them down. It’s the large set-piece end to the first season and many of the tropes/tricks that have been developed this season are in evidence – Superman taking a hit, turrets to be destroyed, J’onn phasing through things, etc. This action-fest works nearly perfectly as the conclusion to a movie but is rather overwhelming for a 22-minute episode.
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